May 31st, 2007 by rbanks
Really interesting article about the change in culture brought about at 3M by the introduction of the ‘Six Sigma’ efficiency system. It highlights some of the challenges of balancing an innovation-led culture with an efficiency led-culture. How do you make those compatible?
At 3M, A Struggle Between Efficiency And Creativity
“The tension that Buckley is trying to manage – between innovation and efficiency – is one that’s bedeviling CEOs everywhere. There is no doubt that the application of lean and mean work processes at thousands of companies, often through programs with obscure-sounding names such as ISO 9000 and Total Quality Management, has been one of the most important business trends of past decades. But as once-bloated U.S. manufacturers have shaped up and become profitable global competitors, the onus shifts to growth and innovation, especially in today’s idea-based, design-obsessed economy. While process excellence demands precision, consistency, and repetition, innovation calls for variation, failure, and serendipity.”